By Chandani Kirinde
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday expanded the scope of a Commission of Inquiry (COI) he appointed two weeks ago to look into political victimisation during the previous Government to ascertain if investigations and legal proceedings against members of the Tri-Forces, Police and public services had an impact on the national security of the country.
In addition to examining complaints of political victimisation during the period 8 January 2015 and ending 16 November 2019, the COI will now inquire into complaints it receives in relation to officers of the Tri-Forces and Sri Lanka Police, and ascertain if inquires, investigations and legal proceedings affected national security.
The President also expanded the warrant of the COI to include the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to be among the institutions to be probed, along with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), Financial Investigations Divisions (FCID) or the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of the Police.
The President’s decision to include the CID has been taken after representations were made to him to include the Department along with the CIABOC, FCID and SIU.
It had also been brought to the attention of the President that due to the intervention of a politically influential third party, there was the likelihood of prejudice being caused to some party or persons in the administration of law or administration of justice and action being instituted by the said Agencies, with regard to the complaints made in relation to officers of the Tri-Forces and Sri Lanka Police and has had an adverse impact on the National Security.
The COI will investigate any malpractice or irregularity, or non-compliance with or disregard of the proper prudence, norms, guidelines, procedures and best practices applicable in relation to the administration of the CIABOC, FCID, SIU and the CID, if the Police had been influenced or obstructed or prevented in any manner, resulting in loss, damage, injury or detriment, either direct or imputed to any person or persons and if the Police have acted under undue influence by third parties.
It will also ascertain if all complaints the investigation were first allegedly decided upon by a Special Anti-corruption Unit which was operational under the purview of the former Prime Minister, and
that during the period this Unit decided in the first instance who was to be investigated and thereafter referred the complaints to the CIABOC, FCID , SIU , the CID or other relevant entity.
The COI will also probe if any person had committed any act of political victimisation, misuse or abuse of power, corruption or any fraudulent act in relation to the functions of the Anti-Corruption unit, CIABOC, FCID, SIU or CID in relation to the administration of any law or the administration of justice.
The COI is headed by Retired Judge of the Supreme Court Upali Abeyrathne while its other members are Retired Judge of the Court of Appeal Daya Chandrasiri Jayathilake and Retired Inspector-General of Police Chandra Fernando.
The Commission has been given six months to submit an interim report, setting out its findings and recommendations.